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Displacement: 45,000 tons
Speed: 33 knots
Armament: Nine 16" guns; twenty 6" guns, eighty 40mm. guns, forty-nine 20mm. guns
Text from The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships published by the Naval Historical Center
The second Wisconsin (BB-64) was laid down on 25 Jan. 1941 at
the Philadelphia Navy Yard; launched on 7 Dec. 1943;
sponsored by Mrs. Walter S. Goodland; and commissioned on 16
Apr. 1944, Capt. Earl E. Stone in command.
After her trials and initial training in the Chesapeake Bay,
Wisconsin departed Norfolk, Va., on 7 Jul. 1944, bound for the
British West Indies. Following her shakedown, conducted out of
Trinidad, the third of the Iowa-class battleships to join the
Fleet returned to her builder's yard for post-shakedown repairs
On 24 Sept. 1944, Wisconsin sailed for the west coast,
transited the Panama Canal, and reported for duty with the
Pacific Fleet on 2 October. The battleship later moved to
Hawaiian waters for training exercises and then headed for the
Western Carolines. Upon reaching Ulithi on 9 December, she
joined Admiral William F. Halsey's 3d Fleet.
The powerful new warship had arrived at a time when the
reconquest of the Philippines was well underway. As a part of
that movement, the planners had envisioned landings on the
southwest coast of Mindoro, south of Luzon. From that point,
American forces could threaten Japanese shipping lanes through
the South China Sea.
The day before the amphibians assaulted Mindoro, the 3d Fleet's
Fast Carrier Task Force (TF) 38 - supported in part by Wisconsin -
rendered Japanese facilities at Manila largely useless. Between
14 and 16 December, TF 38's naval aviators secured complete
tactical surprise and quickly won complete mastery of the air
and sank or destroyed 27 Japanese vessels; damaged 60 more;
destroyed 269 planes; and bombed miscellaneous ground
The next day, 18 Dec. 1944, the weather, however, soon turned sour for Halsey's
sailors. A furious typhoon struck his fleet, catching many ships
refueling and with little ballast in their nearly dry bunkers.
Three destroyers — USS Hull (DD-350), USS Monaghan (DD-354), and USS Spence (DD-512) — capsized and sank. Wisconsin proved her seaworthiness
as she escaped the storm unscathed.
As heavily contested as they were, the Mindoro operations proved
only the introduction to another series of calculated blows
aimed at the occupying Japanese in the Philippines. For
Wisconsin, her next operation was the occupation of Luzon. By-passing
the southern beaches, American amphibians went ashore at
Lingayen Gulf — the scene of the Japanese landings nearly three
Wisconsin — armed with heavy antiaircraft batteries — performed
escort duty for TF 38's fast carriers during air strikes against
Formosa, Luzon, and the Nansei Shoto, to neutralize Japanese
forces there and to cover the unfolding Lingayen Gulf
operations. Those strikes, lasting from 3 to 22 Jan. 1945,
included a thrust into the South China Sea, in the hope that
major units of the Japanese Navy could be drawn into battle.
Air strikes between Saigon and Camranh Bay, Indochina, on 12
January resulted in severe losses for the enemy. TF 38's
warplanes sank 41 ships and heavily damaged docks,
storage areas, and aircraft facilities. At least 112 enemy
planes would never again see operational service. Formosa,
already struck on 3 and 4 January, again fell victim to the
marauding American airmen, being smashed again on 9, 15, and 21
January. Soon, Hong Kong, Canton, and Hainan Island felt the
brunt of TF 38's power. Besides damaging and sinking Japanese
shipping, American planes from the task force set the Canton oil
refineries afire and blasted the Hong Kong Naval Station. They
also raided Okinawa on 22 January, considerably lessening enemy
air activities that could threaten the Luzon landings.
Subsequently assigned to the 5th Fleet — when Admiral Spruance
relieved Admiral Halsey as Commander of the Fleet — Wisconsin
moved northward with the redesignated TF 58 as the carriers
headed for the Tokyo area. On 16 Feb. 1945, the task force
approached the Japanese coast under cover of adverse weather
conditions and achieved complete tactical surprise. As a result,
they shot down 322 enemy planes and destroyed 177 more on the
ground, Japanese shipping — both naval and merchant — suffered
drastically, too, as did hangars and aircraft installations.
Moreover, all this damage to the enemy had cost the American
Navy only 49 planes.
The task force moved to Iwo Jima on 17 February to provide
direct support for the landings slated to take place on that
island on the 19th. It revisited Tokyo on the 25th and, the next
day, hit the island of Hachino off the coast of Honshu. During
these raids, besides causing heavy damage on ground facilities,
the American planes sent five small vessels to the bottom and
destroyed 158 planes.
On 1 March, reconnaissance planes flew over the island of
Okinawa, taking last-minute intelligence photographs to be used
in planning the assault on that island. The next day, cruisers
from TF 58 shelled Okino Daito Shima in training for the
forthcoming operation. The force then retired to Ulithi for
replenishment. Wisconsin's task force stood out of Ulithi on
14 March, bound for Japan. The mission of that group was to
eliminate airborne resistance from the Japanese homeland to
American forces off Okinawa. Enemy fleet units at Kure and Kobe,
on southern Honshu, reeled under the impact of the explosive
blows delivered by TF 58's airmen. On 18 and 19 March 1945, from a
point 100 miles southwest of Kyushu, TF 58 hit enemy airfields
on that island. However, the Japanese drew blood during that
action when kamikazes crashed into USS Franklin (CV-13) on the 19th
and seriously damaged that fleet carrier.
That afternoon, the task force retired from Kyushu, screening
the blazing and battered flattop. In doing so, the screen downed
48 attackers. At the conclusion of the operation, the force felt
that it had achieved its mission of prohibiting any large-scale
resistance from the air to the slated landings on Okinawa.
On the 24th, Wisconsin trained her 16-inch rifles on targets
ashore on Okinawa. Together with the other battlewagons of the
task force, she pounded Japanese positions and installations in
preparation for the landings. Although fierce, Japanese
resistance was doomed to fail by dwindling numbers of aircraft
and trained pilots to man them. In addition, the Japanese fleet,
steadily hammered by air attacks from 5th Fleet aircraft, found
itself confronted by a growing, powerful, and determined enemy.
On 17 April, the undaunted enemy battleship Yamato, with her
18.1-inch guns, sortied to attack the American invasion fleet
off Okinawa. Met head-on by a swarm of carrier planes, Yamato,
the light cruiser Yahagi, and four destroyers went to the
bottom, the victims of massed air power. Never again would the
Japanese fleet present a major challenge to the American fleet
in the war in the Pacific.
While TF 58's planes were off dispatching Yamato and her
consorts to the bottom of the South China Sea, enemy aircraft
struck back at American surface units. Combat air patrols (CAP)
knocked down 15 enemy planes, and ships' gunfire accounted for
another three, but not before one kamikaze penetrated the CAP
and screen to crash on the flight deck of the fleet carrier
USS Hancock (CV-19). On 11 April, the "Divine Wind" renewed its
efforts; and only drastic maneuvers and heavy barrages of
gunfire saved the task force. None of the fanatical pilots
achieved any direct hits, although near-misses, close aboard,
managed to cause some minor damage. Combat air patrols bagged 17
planes, and ships' gunfire accounted for an even dozen. The next
day, 151 enemy aircraft committed hara-kiri into TF 58, but
Wisconsin, bristling with 5-inch, 40-millimeter and 20-
millimeter guns, together with other units of the screens for
the vital carriers, kept the enemy at bay or destroyed him
before he could reach his targets.
Over the days that ensued, American task force planes hit
Japanese facilities and installations in the enemy's homeland.
Kamikazes, redoubling their efforts, managed to crash into three
carriers on successive days — USS Intrepid (CV-11), USS Bunker Hill (CV-
17), and USS Enterprise (CV-6).
By 4 Jun. 1945, a typhoon was swirling through the Fleet. Wisconsin
rode out the storm unscathed, but three cruisers, two carriers,
and a destroyer suffered serious damage. Offensive operations
were resumed on 8 June with a final aerial assault on Kyushu.
Japanese aerial response was pitifully small; 29 planes were
located and destroyed. On that day, one of Wisconsin's
floatplanes landed and rescued a downed pilot from the carrier
USS Shangri-La (CV-38).
Wisconsin ultimately put into Leyte Gulf and dropped anchor
there on 18 June for repairs and replenishment. Three weeks
later, on 1 July, the battleship and her consorts sailed once
more for Japanese home waters for carrier air strikes on the
enemy's heartland. Nine days later, carrier planes from TF 38
destroyed 72 enemy aircraft on the ground and smashed industrial
sites in the Tokyo area. So little was the threat from the
dwindling Japanese air arm that the Americans made no attempt
whatever to conceal the location of their armada which was
operating off her shores with impunity.
On 16 Jul. 1945, Wisconsin again unlimbered her main battery,
hurling 16-inch shells shoreward at the steel mills and oil
refineries at Muroran, Hokkaido. Two days later, she wrecked
industrial facilities in the Hitachi Miro area, on the coast of
Honshu, northeast of Tokyo itself. During that bombardment,
British battleships of the Eastern Fleet contributed their heavy
shellfire. By that point in the war, Allied warships were able
to shell the Japanese homeland almost at will.
Task Force 38's planes subsequently blasted the Japanese naval
base at Yokosuka, and put one of the two remaining Japanese
battleships — the former fleet flagship Nagato out of action. On
24 and 25 July, American carrier planes visited the Inland Sea
region, blasting enemy sites on Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku.
Kure then again came under attack. Six major fleet units were
located there and badly damaged, marking the virtual end of
Japanese sea power.
Over the weeks that ensued, TF 38 continued its raids on Japanese
industrial facilities, airfields, and merchant and naval
shipping. Admiral Halsey's airmen visited destruction upon the
Japanese capital for the last time on 13 Aug. 1945. Two days
later, the Japanese capitulated. World War II was over at last.
Wisconsin, as port of the occupying force, arrived at Tokyo Bay
on 6 September, three days after the formal surrender occurred
on board the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63). During Wisconsin's brief career in World War II, she had steamed 105,831 miles
since commissioning; had shot down three enemy planes; had
claimed assists on four occasions; and had fueled her screening
destroyers on some 250 occasions.
Shifting subsequently to Okinawa, the battleship embarked
homeward-bound GIs on 22 September, as part of the "Magic
Carpet" operation staged to bring soldiers, sailors, and marines
home from the far-flung battlefronts of the Pacific. Departing
Okinawa on 23 September, Wisconsin reached Pearl Harbor on 4
October, remaining there for five days before she pushed on for
the west coast on the last leg of her state-side bound voyage.
She reached San Francisco on 15 Oct. 1945.
Heading for the east coast of the United States soon after the
start of the new year, 1946, Wisconsin transited the Panama
Canal between 11 and 13 January and reached Hampton Roads, Va.,
on the 18th. Following a cruise south to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
the battleship entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for overhaul.
After repairs and alterations that consumed the summer months,
Wisconsin sailed for South American waters.
Over the weeks that ensued, the battleship visited Valparaiso,
Chile, from 1 to 6 November; Callao, Peru, from 9 to 13
November; Balboa, Canal Zone, from 16 to 20 November; and La
Guajira, Venezuela, from 22 to 26 November, before returning to
Norfolk: on 2 Dec. 1946.
Wisconsin spent nearly all of 1947 as a training ship, taking
naval reservists on two-week cruises through-out the year. Those
voyages commenced at Bayonne, N.J,, and saw visits conducted at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Panama Canal Zone. While underway
at sea, the ship would perform various drills and exercises
before the cruise would end where it had started, at Bayonne.
During June and July of 1947, Wisconsin took Naval Academy
midshipmen on cruises to northern European waters.
In January 1948, Wisconsin joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at
Norfolk, for inactivation. Placed out of commission, in reserve
on 1 July 1948 Wisconsin was assigned to the Norfolk group of
the Atlantic Reserve Fleet.
Her sojourn in "mothballs," however, was comparatively brief
because of the North Korean invasion of South Korea in late June
1950. Wisconsin was recommissioned, on 3 Mar. 1951, Capt.
Thomas Burrowes in command. After shakedown training, the
revitalized battleship conducted two midshipmen training
cruises, taking the officers-to-be to Edinburgh, Scotland;
Lisbon, Portugal; Halifax, Nova Scotia; New York City; and
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before she returned to Norfolk.
Wisconsin departed Norfolk on 25 Oct. 1951, bound for the
Pacific. She transited the Panama Canal on the 29th and reached.
Yokosuka, Japan, on 21 November. There, she relieved USS New Jersey
(BB-62) as flagship for Vice Admiral H. M. Martin, Commander,
On the 26th, with Vice Adm. Martin and Rear Admiral F. P.
Denebrink, Commander, Service Force, Pacific, embarked,
Wisconsin departed Yokosuka for Korean waters to support the
fast carrier operations of TF 77. She left the company of the
carrier force on 2 December and, screened by the destroyer
USS Wiltsie (DD-716), provided gunfire support for the Republic of
Korea (ROK) Corps in the Kasong-Kosong area. After disembarking
Admiral Denebrink on 3 December at Kangnung, the battleship
resumed station on the Korean "bombline," providing gunfire
support for the American 1st Marine Division. Wisconsin's
shellings accounted for a tank, two gun emplacements, and a
building. She continued her gunfire support task for the 1st
Marine Division and 1st ROK Corps through 6 December, accounting
for enemy bunkers, artillery positions, and troop
concentrations. On one occasion during that time, the battleship
received a request for call-fire support and provided three
starshells for the 1st ROK Corps, illuminating a communist
attack that was consequently repulsed with considerable enemy
After being relieved on the gunline by the heavy cruiser USS St.
Paul (CA-78) on 6 December, Wisconsin retired only briefly from
gunfire support duties. She resumed them, however, in the
Kasong-Kosong area on 11 December screened by the destroyer
USS Twining (DD-540). The following day, 12 December, saw the
embarkation in Wisconsin of Rear Adm. H. R. Thurber,
Commander, Battleship Division 2. The admiral came on board via
helicopter, incident to his inspection trip in the Far East.
The battleship continued naval gunfire support duties on the
"bombline," shelling enemy bunkers, command posts, artillery
positions, and trench systems through 14 December. She departed
the "bombline" on that day to render special gunfire support
duties in the Kojo area blasting coastal targets in support of
United Nations (UN) troops ashore. That same day, she returned
to the Kasong-Kosong area. On the 15th, she disembarked Admiral
Thurber by helicopter. The next day, Wisconsin departed Korean
waters, heading for Sasebo to rearm.
Returning to the combat zone on the 17th, Wisconsin embarked
United States Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan on the 18th.
That day, the battleship supported the 11th ROK invasion with
night illumination fire that enabled the ROK troops to repulse a
communist assault with heavy enemy casualties. Departing the
"bombline" on the 19th, the battleship later that day
transferred her distinguished passenger, Sen. Ferguson, by
helicopter to the carrier USS Valley Forge (CV-45).
Wisconsin next participated in a coordinated air-surface
bombardment of Wonsan to neutralize pre-selected targets. She
shifted her bombardment station. to the western end of Wonsan
harbor, hitting boats and small craft in the inner swept channel
during the afternoon. Such activities helped to forestall any
communist attempts to assault the friendly-held islands in the
Wonsan area. Wisconsin then made an anti-boat sweep to the
north, utilizing her 5-inch batteries on suspected boat
concentrations. She then provided gunfire support to UN troops
operating at the "bombline" until three days before Christmas
1951. She then rejoined the carrier task force.
On 28 December, Francis Cardinal Spellman — on a Korean tour over
the Christmas holidays — visited the ship, coming on board by
helicopter to celebrate Mass for the Catholic members of the
crew. The distinguished prelate departed the ship by helicopter
off Pohang. Three days later, on the last day of the year,
Wisconsin put into Yokosuka.
Wisconsin departed that Japanese port on 8 January 1952 and
headed for Korean waters once more. She reached Pusan the
following day and entertained the President of South Korea,
Syngman Rhee, and his wife, on the 10th. President and Mrs. Rhee
received full military honors as they came on board, and he
reciprocated by awarding Vice Adm. Martin the ROK Order of
the Military Merit.
Wisconsin returned to the "bombline" on 11 January and, over the
ensuing days, delivered heavy gunfire support for the 1st Marine
Division and the 1st ROK Corps. As before, her primary targets
were command posts, shelters, bunkers, troop concentrations and
mortar positions. As before, she stood ready to deliver call-
fire support as needed. One such occasion occurred on 14
January when she shelled enemy troops in the open at the request
of the ROK 1st Corps.
Rearming at Sasebo and once more joining TF 77 off the coast of
Korea soon thereafter, Wisconsin resumed support at the
"bombline" on 23 January. Three days later, she shifted once
more to the Kojo region, to participate in a coordinated air and
gun strike. That same day, the battleship-returned to the
"bombline" and shelled the command post and communications
center for the 15th North Korean Division during call-fire
missions for the 1st Marine Division.
Returning to Wonsan at the end of January, Wisconsin bombarded
enemy guns at Hodo Pando before she was rearmed at Sasebo. The
battleship rejoined TF 77 on 2 February and the next day,
blasted railway buildings and marshaling yards at Hodo Pando and
Kojo before rejoining TF 77. After replenishment at Yokosuka a
few days later, she returned to the Kosong area and resumed
gunfire support. During that time, she destroyed railway bridges
and a small shipyard besides conducting callfire missions on
enemy command posts, bunkers, and personnel shelters, making
numerous cuts on enemy trench lines in the process.
On 26 February, Wisconsin arrived at Pusan where Vice Admiral
Shon, the Republic of Korea Chief of Naval Operations; United States
Ambassador J. J. Muccio; and Rear Admiral Scott-Montcrief, Royal
Navy, Commander, Task Group 95.12, visited the battleship.
Departing that South Korean port the following day, Wisconsin
reached Yokosuka on 2 March. A week later, she shifted to Sasebo
to prepare to return to Korean waters.
Wisconsin arrived off Songjin, Korea, on 15 Mar. 1952 and
concentrated her gunfire on enemy railway transport. Early that
morning, she destroyed a communist troop train trapped outside
of a destroyed tunnel. That afternoon, she received the first
direct hit in her history when one of four shells from a
communist 155-millimeter gun battery struck the shield of a
starboard 40-millimeter mount. Although little material damage
resulted, three men were injured. Almost as if the victim of a
personal affront, Wisconsin subsequently blasted that battery to
oblivion with a 16-inch salvo before continuing her mission.
After lending a hand to support once more the 1st Marine
Division with her heavy rifles, the battleship returned to Japan
on 19 March.
Relieved as flagship of the 7th Fleet on 1 April by sistership
USS Iowa (BB-61), Wisconsin departed Yokosuka, bound for the United
States. En route home, she touched briefly at Guam, where she
took part in the successful test of the Navy's largest floating
dry-dock on 4 and 5 April, marking the first time that an Iowa-
class battleship had ever utilized that type of facility. She
continued her homeward-bound voyage, via Pearl Harbor, and
arrived at Long Beach, Calif., on l9 April, She then sailed for
the east coast; her destination: Norfolk.
Early in June 1952, Wisconsin resumed her role as a training
ship, taking midshipmen to Greenock, Scotland; Brest, France;
and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, before returning to Norfolk. She
departed Hampton Roads on 25 August and participated in a North
Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) exercise, Operation
Mainbrace which commenced at Greenock and extended as far
north as Oslo, Norway. After her return to Norfolk, Wisconsin
underwent an overhaul in the naval shipyard there. She then
engaged in local training evolutions until 11 Feb. 1953,
when she sailed for Cuban waters for refresher training. She
visited Newport, R.I., and New York City before returning to
Norfolk late in April.
Following another midshipman's training cruise to Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; and Guantanamo Bay,
Wisconsin put into the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 4 August for a
brief overhaul. A little over a month later, upon conclusion of
that period of repairs and alterations, the battleship departed
Norfolk on 9 September, bound for the Far East.
Sailing via the Panama Canal to Japan, Wisconsin relieved USS New
Jersey (BB-62) as 7th Fleet flagship on 12 October. During the
months that followed, Wisconsin visited the Japanese ports of
Kobe, Sasebo, Yokosuka, Otaru, and Nagasaki. She spent Christmas
at Hong Kong and was ultimately relieved of flagship duties on 1
Apr. 1954 and returned to the United States soon thereafter,
teaching Norfolk, via Long Beach and the Panama Canal, on 4 May
Entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 11 June, Wisconsin
underwent a brief overhaul and commenced a midshipman training
cruise on 12 July. After revisiting Greenock, Brest, and
Guantanamo Bay, the ship returned to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard
for repairs. Shortly thereafter, Wisconsin participated in
Atlantic Fleet exercises as flagship for Commander, 2d Fleet.
Departing Norfolk in January 1955, Wisconsin took part in
Operation Springboard, during which time she visited Port-au-
Prince, Haiti. Then, upon returning to Norfolk, the battleship
conducted another midshipman's cruise that summer, visiting
Edinburgh; Copenhagen, Denmark; and Guantanamo Bay before
returning to the United States.
Upon completion of a major overhaul at the New York Naval
Shipyard, Wisconsin headed south for refresher training in the
Caribbean, later taking part in another Springboard exercise.
During that cruise, she again visited Port-au-Prince and added
Tampico, Mexico, and Cartagena, Colombia, to her list of ports
of call. She returned to Norfolk on the last day of March 1955
for local operations.
Throughout April and into May, Wisconsin operated locally off
the Virginia capes. On 6 May 1955, the battleship collided with the
destroyer USS Eaton (DDE-510) in a heavy fog; Wisconsin put into
Norfolk with extensive damage to her bow and, one week later,
entered drydock at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. A novel expedient
speeded her repairs and enabled the ship to carry out her
scheduled midshipman training cruise that summer. A 120-ton, 68-
foot long section of the bow of the uncompleted battleship
Kentucky was transported by barge, in one section, from New
Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp., Newport News, Va.,
across Hampton Roads to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Working
round-the clock, Wisconsin's ship's force and shipyard personnel
completed the operation which grafted the new bow on the old
battleship in a mere 16 days. On 28 Jun. 1956, the ship was
ready for sea.
Embarking 700 NROTC midshipmen, representing 52 colleges and
universities throughout the United States, Wisconsin departed
Norfolk on 9 July, bound for Spain. Reaching Barcelona on the
20th, the battleship next called at Greenock and Guantanamo Bay
before returning to Norfolk on the last day of August. That
autumn, Wisconsin participated in Atlantic Fleet exercises off
the coast of the Carolinas, returning to port on 8 November
1956. Entering the Norfolk Naval Shipyard a week later, the
battleship underwent major repairs that were not finished until
2 Jan. 1957.
After local operations off the Virginia capes from 3 to 4
January and from the 9th to the 11th, Wisconsin departed Norfolk
on the 16th, reporting to Commander, Fleet Training Group, at
Guantanamo Bag. Breaking the two-starred flag of Rear Admiral
Henry Crommelin, Commander, Battleship Division 2, Wisconsin
served as Adm. Crommelin's flagship during the ensuing shore
bombardment practices and other exercises held off the isle of
Culebra, Puerto Rico, from 2 to 4 Feb. 1957. Sailing for
Norfolk upon completion of the training period, the battleship
arrived on 7 February.
The warship conducted a brief period of local operations off
Norfolk before she sailed, on 27 March, for the Mediterranean.
Reaching Gibraltar on 6 April, she pushed on that day to
rendezvous with TF 60 in the Aegean Sea. She then proceeded with
that force to Xeros Bay, Turkey, arriving there on 11 April for
NATO Exercise Red Pivot.
Departing Xeros Bay on 14 April, she arrived at Naples four days
later, After a week's visit-during which she was visited by
Italian dignitaries — Wisconsin conducted exercises in the eastern
Mediterranean. In the course of those operational training
evolutions, she rescued a pilot and crewman who survived the
crash of a plane from the carrier USS Forrestal (CVA-59). Two days
later, Vice Adm. Charles R. Brown, Commander, Sixth Fleet, came
on board for an official visit by high-line and departed via the
same method that day. Wisconsin reached Valencia, Spain, on 10
May and, three days later, entertained prominent civilian and
military officials of the city.
Departing Valencia on the 17th, Wisconsin reached Norfolk on 27
May. On that day, Rear Admiral L. S. Parks relieved Rear Admiral
Crommelin as Commander, Battleship Division 2. Departing Norfolk
on 19 June, the battleship, over the ensuing weeks, conducted a
midshipman training cruise through the Panama Canal to South
American waters. She transited the canal on 26 June; crossed the
equator on the following day; and reached Valparaiso, Chile, on
3 July 1957. Eight days later, the battleship headed back to the
Panama Canal and the Atlantic.
After exercises at Guantanamo Bay and off Culebra, Wisconsin
reached Norfolk on 5 August and conducted local operations that
lasted into September. She then participated in NATO exercises
which took her across the North Atlantic to the British Isles.
She arrived in the Clyde on 14 September and subsequently
visited Brest, France, before returning to Norfolk on 22
Wisconsin's days as an active fleet unit were numbered, and she
prepared to make her last cruise. On 4 Nov. 1957, she
departed Norfolk with a large group of prominent guests on
board. Reaching New York City on 6 November, the battleship
disembarked her guests and, on the 8th, headed for Bayonne,
N.J., to commence pre-inactivation overhaul.
Placed out of commission at Bayonne on 8 Mar. 1958, Wisconsin
joined the "Mothball Fleet" there, leaving the United States
Navy without an active battleship for the first time since 1896.
Subsequently taken to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Wisconsin
remained there with USS Iowa (BB 61) until recommissioned again on 22 Oct. 1988.
USS Wisconsin returned to war when Iraqi dictator Sadam Hussein invaded Kuwait. In February 1991, Wisconsin fired her 16-inch guns at targets just
north of Khafji, Saudi Arabia, the ship assisted shore-based
ground units in their tasks. Wisconsin shared gunnery duties with
USS Missouri (BB 63) and the two battleships continued to hammer
at their targets with 16-inch gunnery. Near the end of the
month, Wisconsin turned her big guns on Faylaka Island and Kuwait
City in support of the ground offensive. Iraq agreed to a cease
fire agreement on 28 Feb. 1991.
USS Wisconsin was decommissioned for the final time, on 30 Sept. 1991. After being berthed at the Naval Station Norfolk, Va., she was moved on 31 May 2000 to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. On Pearl Harbor Commemoration Day, 7 December 2000, Wisconsin moored at the National Maritime Center in downtown Norfolk to be the centerpiece in a four-part exhibit featuring the battleship's role in U.S. naval history and also as an example of the relationship between the Navy and the Hampton Roads area. Wisconsin opened to the public on 16 April 2001.
Wisconsin earned five battle stars for her World War II service
and one for Korea.
See also USS Wisconsin (BB 9)
Updated: 29 July 2009